The name of this sweet smelling flower, Stephanotis, comes from the Greek and it means: crown, diadem, wreath. Clusters of small white flowers with five pointed petals grace the climbing evergreen plant and conjure up the stars in the Pleiades. As such they are ideal to be worn in the hair like a diadem.
The common name of Stephanotis is Madagascar Jasmine. Thanks to one Monsieur Petit-Thouars, a renowned French botanist and aristocrat, who in the early 19th century introduced it into Europe when he returned from his exile on the isles of Madagascar and Mauritius.
These delicate flowers are also wonderful additions to wedding posies including corsage and boutonniere.
When I still had my flower shop, I remember I loved to work with Stephanotis for wedding orders, particularly for bridal bouquets, as I admired their beauty, elegance, and intoxicating fragrance.
I couldn’t resist purchasing the plant when I first discovered about it in one of my local nurseries ten years ago. It was like finding a treasure. I planted it in a pot and placed it in my atrium where there is more shade and not too much sun.
In my part of Southern California, we don’t get much rain or humidity, necessary conditions for growing Stephanotis; however, the winters are mild and perfect for their growth. I have repotted my Stephanotis only once during the past ten years. I trim the branches once a year during winter when the plant is dormant.
Today my Stephanotis bush is three times its initial size when I first bought it. It blooms from late June to mid-September. It gives me a world of pleasure as I watch it bloom in clusters and enjoy its lingering delightful fragrance in my atrium and inside my house. It even produces the egg shape fruits filled with fuzzy seeds. My plant is easy going and does not require much caring for. Most people are not as lucky as I am when it comes to cultivating this demanding plant. I think my Stephanotis knows that I adore it: it was love at first sight for both of us!